An Account of the Halcyon day sail 7th August 2008 by Alan Roach (1963 cadet)

Having left Warsash in April 1964 to embark on my seagoing career with the Royal Mail Lines if someone, in June of that year, had asked me whether I would like to have a day sail in HALCYON I think I would have declined possibly using several expletives to add force to my reply. Forty-four years later the question WAS asked and I jumped at the offer – time is a great healer!

So it was that my brother Roger (1959) and I took up the offer to do just that and on 7th August  2008 we found ourselves, along with eight other ex Warsash Cadets, standing outside the boat house of that hallowed establishment waiting to embark in that same ship.

The forecast for the day did not auger well for we mariners and so being Wakeford trained we’d mustered with suitable foul weather gear just in case! A leisurely stroll down the jetty, no doubling this time, brought us to the jetty head to watch her make her stately entrance to the Hamble for the first time in forty years.

We were welcomed onboard by Andrew Armour  HALCYON’s saviour and new owner and his crew, Skipper “Big Rob”, Mate “Little Rob”, Purser Annette and Chef Lucy with bacon baps and hot coffee – wasn’t  like this in our day!

The plan was to proceed out of the Hamble and make for Cowes to observe some of the Cowes Week Racing and then on to anchor in Osborne Bay for lunch. Once past Hamble Point Buoy the work started; it was all hands on deck to raise sail, all ‘handraulic’, just like the old days, only this time no sharp-tongued bosun was on hand to bellow at you when you didn’t heave, haul or belay in a seaman like manner.

Each of us took a turn at the wheel and what a joy it was not to have to attempt to steer in quarter points, which I seem to recall was the order of the day all those years ago. Sail was made and HALCYON responded to the breeze like the stately lady she is, the sun too decided to make a rare appearance and we settled down to a good run down past Calshot (what’s happened to the Sunderland flying boats on the slip), rounding Calshot Spit Float, no light ship anymore, and on to the West Bramble where we were amongst all the modern, fast yachts of varying sizes that make up the spectacular sight that is Cowes Week. HALCYON to any observer must have looked majestic heeled over under main, mizzen and three foresails.

Anchoring in Osborne Bay was achieved in a quiet and efficient manner and an excellent lunch, including wine was served al-fresco. Several lamps where swung during the meal but before we could slip into our reverie the order to weigh and proceed was given.

Anchor aweigh we made sail once again heading in a northerly direction back up towards the Hamble where we arrived around 1630 having taken in sail off Hamble Point and made her ship shape once again prior to disembarking to the college jetty.

The day was most memorable for us all, we were well fed and looked after by Andrew and his crew. HALCYON has been restored to her former glory as a private yacht and it was a great privilege to be invited to sail in her once again. We wished Andrew, The Robs, Annette and Lucy the very best of luck with their charter venture - a cruise in HALCYON in her new guise would be something to cherish. Long may she sail in UK and Norwegian waters or wherever her charters take her.